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Archive for August 15th, 2006

I decided to visit Jackson, who moved to Tom’s River for work this weekend.  Tom’s River is known as the beginning of the Jersey Shore.  I recruited Jon & Phil to come with me so off we went on the New Jersey Transit system.  For a huge Manhattanite like me, it’s always hard to get up at the asscrack of dawn to visit the middle of nowhere- especially when I find out that nowhere has an entrance fee for its beach… and that the beach isn’t even that pretty.  We took the 10:30 out of Port Authority and got there a little before 12:30 with traffic.

Driving around, all we saw were chain restaurants- Checkers, Ihop, Chilli’s- and if you read Chew on This or Fast Food Nation, you’d know what that was all about.  All the fast food owners love to plant their restaurants on major interstates so that’s all people see when they’re driving by on the major roads.  We ended up at Friendly’s because the guys have never been and I haven’t been since my days of living in suburbia. 

friendlys
looks like any other friendly’s, eh?

There was a summer special going on- if you get something off that menu, they’d give you a free sundae!  We were all over that offer.  There were 4 dishes and 4 of us- we each ordered something different.  I got fish and chips that came with a side of cole slaw.  Their fish was pretty good, but their fries sucked.  I am a fan of the super crunchy shoe string fries and these were.. quite the opposite.  It was oil drenched soggy and lumpy stuff that shouldn’t be allowed in the fries category.  The slaw was okay- nothing special like the ones from the big apple bbq and not pictured below.

fish and chips
fish & fake chips

For the sundae, Friendly’s was very friendly about the idea of “free.”  I thought they were going to offer 1 scoop of ice cream, 1 topping, whipped cream and a cherry.  Instead, we got two scoops of ice cream and a topping- they also have a very wide selection.  I chose the black raspberry and vanilla with marshmallow fluff [mm… fluff] on top.  The black raspberry was very purple, which kinda put me off but it was yummy so I don’t care.

sundae
*slurp

For dinner, I decided I didn’t want to go to another chain restaurant.  Jax said there is a chinese buffet near him so I figured, why not?  I knew it couldn’t be that good because it’s chinese food in the suburbs but I was hoping to be pleasantly surprised.  Jax just moved to Tom’s River a month ago, and he is always busy at work so he hasn’t been able to explore all the cool insider places to eat yet.  We did pass by a Stewart’s Root Beer stand/kiosk type place that I thought was really cool.  Anyways, we had dinner at Amy Buffet 2 for $11.95 per person.  

amy buffet
what happened to one?

The hot and sour soup was okay.  The rice for the sushi was too hard; it wasn’t fresh.  The squid wasn’t chewy enough- it was also breaded oddly… not enough breading to matter but too much to ignore.  The breading for the sweet and sour chicken was also bad.  The clams were good.  The cake was okay.  I heard the ice cream and hibachi were good too.  Here is everything I ate that night.

plate 1  plate 2 

plate 3  soup

After dinner, we got dropped off at the bus station and decided to open up the pack of Airheads I bought earlier at Target.  They had advertisements from the movie Cars.  I grabbed the flavor named “burnt rubber.”  It turned out to be grape.  How clever.

burnt rubber
vroom vroom

Daniel called us out for desert when we got back to the city, so we hit upFerrara’s in Little Italy. 

fer
leather bound menus

Daniel got a slice of tiramisu and I got a hazelnut cappuccino while the others got other drinks [Italian cherry soda and lemonade].  The lemonade was a hit; it was made with real lemons and was a bit of a slushy.  The tiramisu is always good here and cappuccinos are ordinary. 

hazel   tiramiscu
cappacino & tiramisu are perfect compliments.

It’s been a long day after all this traveling and fooding, so I cabbed it home and watched Ocean’s 11 [Target $7.50] before crashing.

 

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I’ve been looking for an excuse to go to Daisy May’s– a west side bbq eatery for some time now.  Fortunately, my friend Rich is a huge bbq fan & fellow foodie [as in he actually makes the food, not just pay for it like I do], so instead of going to Virgil’s like I knew was inevitable, I suggested we try Daisy May’s.  Eventually, our friend Jon got placed with the responsibility for organizing everything.  Of course, my friends who are not very big on the planning just took my suggestion from days ago and ran with it. 

ethiopian-001.jpg  daisy may   
the fronts of daisy may’s take order area [there are also benches in front]

Little did we know though, there was an event going on at the restaurant that day.  They have this cafeteria style seating, where you order your food and sit anywhere in their dining room so no one bothered to check for avaliability.  We decided to try out a nearby Ethiopian restaurant recommended by a friend of Rich’s, but not before ordering a half a rack of baby back ribs to go.  I enjoyed the rub; it tasted like a sweet rub with a layer of dry rub on top, which excited me b/c I always love to rub my ribs with dry rub before eating [it’s always more fun to play with your food, no?].  The ribs were also more meaty than I expected.  You know those ribs where it’s just a layer of skin and bones on the bottom?  This was not one of those- it was a hearty rib.  We ate on the streets of Manhattan while walking to the Ethiopian restaurant.  Take a look at the succulent ribs for yourself.

ribs
finger-linkin’ goodness

We ended up going to Meskerem, which is just a block and an avenue away from Daisy May’s.  Meskerem is a fairly small restaurant; there are about 10 small tables when you walk in with additional big table seating in the back [about 5 tables].  The night that we went, they warned us they had no liquor and didn’t state why.  We were just there for dinner so that didn’t affect us much, but the guys and I did want to try some Ethiopian beer. 

meskerem
47 btwn 9 + 10

I’ve seen pictures of Ethiopian food, and we’ve been talking about trying some, but none of us have had any until this day.  You can call us a bunch of Ethiopian virgins, I guess.  I decided to get the vegeterian combo so I could try out several selections in one sitting.  It came with miser alech [split lentils dipped w/ ginger, garlic, onions, olive oil & curry], miser wat [split lentils w/ garlic, onions, olive oil in berbere sauce], shro wat [ground chickpeas in berbere sauce], sauteed string beans, carrots & onions in tomato sauce, & fresh cabbage, potatoes, & carrots sauteed w/ garlic, ginger & curry.  Other people got lamb combos and some chicken stuffs [it’s too much to type].   You can go browse the menu for yourself. 

vegie combo
mushed veggies galore

One of my friends made the comment that this stuff looks like baby food to which I agree, though I don’t know if the actual food will agree with babies.  There are too many spices.  Phil wouldn’t even think of touching it [boo him for his unadventurous soul] and we ended up eating his portion too.  Who gives up a chance to legitimately play with his/her food?

My inchoherent review:  A lot of people seem to like the blob on the top left hand corner [it can come with lamb- which is what Phil got and we devoured for him] and the veggies were really good- meaning the cabbage, string beans and spinach.  I wasn’t a fan of the two yellow blobs on the bottom row [I think one of them was a lentil dish- it’s flavor wasn’t too pleasing].  It’s hard to give a more comprehensive review of their food because it’s mostly thick sauce and bread.  I didn’t enjoy the way they made their bread though- it was too sour.  I’m holding the belief that ethiopian bread doesn’t really taste like this; Meskerem just needs to improve their recipe.  We all thought it took away from the actual food, so we just started picking at the food with our hands [or using the meats to help].  Next time, I’m going for a meat dish because both the lamb in that red sauce and the chicken were both good! 

 

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